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Guest Artists​

Kui Dong copy.jpg

Kui Dong (董夔)

2023 Keynote Speaker & Commissioned Composer


Chen Yi

2023 Guest Composer


Huang Ruo

2023 Guest Speaker

Kui Dong (董夔), Composer ---- Keynote Speaker&Commission Composer

Dong Kui

Described in publications such as The Washington Post, Gramophone, San Francisco Examiner, Charleston Post and Courier, and The Boston Intelligencer as “ceaselessly compelling,” “exceptional beauty and imagination,” “ a hybrid sonic labyrinth,” and “beautiful and haunting and thought-provoking,” and praised for its “21st century sensibilities,” Kui Dong‘s music has been performed and commissioned by numerous ensembles and has received honors and prizes from a wide spectrum of prestigious institutions, including the Opera America, The Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Meet the Composer, the USA Commissioning Award, ISCM, ASCAP, Austria’s Ars Electronica, the Tanglewood Music Center and Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, the Arditti Quartet, Del Sol Quartet, Volti, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Alea III, Third Coast Percussion, Slagwerkgroep Den Haag, Spain’s Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Japan’s Public Interest Incorporated Foundation and Fukuyama Arts Foundation, Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television, the Central Ballet Group of China and The Orchestra and Chorus of the National Performing Art Center of China.


Dong’s compositions span diverse genres and styles that include ballet, orchestral and chamber works, chorus, electro-acoustic music, film scores, multi-media art, and free improvisation. Her works written in the United States show a unique synthesis of influences from avant-garde experimental, jazz, and other ethnic music, and at the same time maintain a profound respect to Western classical music and a deep cultural connection with her roots. She sometimes incorporates theatre, as well as Chinese and non-western instruments and musical concepts into contemporary settings.


Dong’s music, can be found on four full length albums: Pangu’s Song (New World Records 2004), Hands Like Waves Unfold (Other Minds Records 2008), Since When Has The Bright Moon Existed (Other Minds Records 2011), and most recently, Painted Lights (KARIOS Records, Vienna 2022), as well as included in compilation albums on a variety of labels. A collection of her chamber works was published in 2015 and a collection of her large choral music was published in 2021 by Central Conservatory of Music Press in China. Her two large choral works, Shui Diao Ge To & Song and Painted Lights are featured in the documentary film Su Tong Po which aired on China’s Central Television Channel 9 in July 2017. Her recent work Spring, for orchestra, chorus, and organ (Commissioned by Hong Kong based Phoenix Television) opened The Spring Festival Musical Gala for Chinese Around the World 2019. The concert was subsequently broadcast throughout Europe, North America, and Asia.


Kui Dong is a professor of Music Composition and served as Department of Music Chair (2018-2020) at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. When not writing music, Dong occasionally performs free improvisation on piano and writes prose fiction. Her first novel The Story of a Little Soldier is published by the Knowledge Press under the Encyclopedia of China Publishing House (2022). She is currently working on a comic chamber opera titled Hu Tong and a cello solo piece.

As a Distinguished Professor at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, a prolific composer, and recipient of the Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Dr. CHEN YI* blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries. Her music has reached a wide range of audiences and inspired peoples of different cultural backgrounds throughout the world. She holds a BA and MA in music composition from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and a DMA from Columbia University in New York City, studying composition with Wu Zuqiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2019.


Dr. Chen’s music has been performed and commissioned by the world’s leading musicians and ensembles, including Yehudi Menuhin, Yo-Yo Ma, Evelyn Glennie, the Cleveland Orchestra, the BBC, Seattle, Pacific, Kansas City, and Singapore Symphonies, the Brooklyn, NY, and LA Philharmonic, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Her music has also been recorded on many labels, including Bis, New Albion, CRI, Teldec, Telarc, Albany, New World, Naxos, Quartz, Delos, Angel, Bridge, Nimbus, KIC, and China Record Company.


Dr. Chen has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation (1996) and the National Endowment for the Arts (1994), as well as the Lieberson Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996). Other honors include first prize from the Chinese National Composition Contest (85), Lili Boulanger Award (93), NYU Sorel Medal Award (96), CalArts / Alpert Award (97), UT Eddie Medora King Composition Prize (99), ASCAP Concert Music Award (01), Elise Stoeger Award (02) from Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Friendship Ambassador Award from Edgar Snow Fund (02), UMKC Kauffman Award in Artistry/Scholarship (06, 19) and in Faculty Service (12), and Honorary Doctorates from Lawrence University in WI (02), Baldwin-Wallace College in OH (08), University of Portland in OR (09), the New School University in NYC (10), and the University of Hartford in CT (16).


Recent premieres include Plum Blossom for piano solo at the Fifth Hong Kong International Piano Competition by 15 semi-finalists at HK City Hall Concert Hall in October 2019, a three-movement symphonic work Introduction, Andante, and Allegro (co-commissioned by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra directed by Ludovic Morlot and Los Angeles Philharmonic directed by Gustavo Dudamel) by the SSO at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on 2/6/2019; Fire for 12 players (commissioned by Chicago Center for Contemporary Music) by Grossman Ensemble at Logan Center Performance Hall in University of Chicago on 3/15/2019; a symphonic work Pearle River Overture (commissioned by Guangzhou Symphony) in Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou, China on 11/22/2018; Four Spirits for piano and orchestra, commissioned by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and premiered at the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, China on November 18, 2016 and at the Memorial Hall in the Carolina Performing Arts (CPA), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on December 8, 2016 by the China Philharmonic Orchestra, with piano soloist Clara Yang, conducted by Huang Yi and Yu Long respectively; Southern Scenes for flute, pipa, and orchestra (with Barlow Commission Award) premiered by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra in Honolulu (with soloists Linda Chatterton and Gao Hong, conducted by JoAnn Falletta) on Jan. 7, 2018; Totem Poles for organ solo commissioned and premiered at the American Guild of Organists national conference in Kansas City by Prof. James Higdon on July 3, 2018; Happy Tune for violin and viola commissioned and premiered at the Great Lake Chamber Music Festival 25th anniversary concert by Tien-Hsin Cindy Wu and Kim Kashkashian on June 16, 2018; Feng II and Suite from China West for saxophone ensembles premiered at the 18th World Saxophone Congress in Zagreb, Croatia on July 12, 2018; Ge Xu for orchestra by New Jersey Symphony and LA Philharmonic conducted by Zhang Xian; Chinese Folk Dance Suite for violin and orchestra performed on Guangzhou Symphony Youth Orchestra European tour (solo by Gao Can and conducted by Jing Huan) in Lyon, Prague, and at Musica Riva Festival in Italy; Ballad, Dance, and Fantasy for cello and orchestra by the China National Symphony at the 2018 Beijing Modern Music Festival and ISCM World Music Days (solo by Qin Li-wei and conducted by Yongyan Hu) at the CNCPA in Beijing.


A strong advocate of new music, American composers, Asian composers, and women in music, Dr. Chen Yi has served on the advisory or educational board of the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Chamber Music America, Meet The Composer, the American Music Center, New Music USA, the American Composers Orchestra, the League of Composers/ISCM, the International Alliance of Women in Music, and the Women’s Philharmonic Advocacy. She has supported many composers, conductors, musicians (including dozens of excellent performers on Chinese traditional instruments), music educators and students through her tireless work over the past three decades.


Prof. Chen was appointed to the prestigious Cheungkong Scholar Visiting Professor at the Central Conservatory by the China Education Ministry in 2006 where she was instrumental in establishing the first Beijing International Composition Workshop, and the Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Tianjin Conservatory in 2012. Through her professorship in the Conservatory of Music and Dance, University of Missouri-Kansas City and Peabody Conservatory, John Hopkins University since 1996, as well as composition lectures and workshops, judging composition competitions, residences in new music festivals, performing arts organizations, universities, colleges, middle/high schools, and primary schools throughout the States and China, Prof. Chen has made significant contribution to the music education field. Many of her composition students have been recognized around the world with national and international composition awards and professional positions.


Dr. Chen Yi is a cultural ambassador who has introduced hundreds of new music compositions and a large number of musicians from the East and the West to music and education exchange programs in the US, Germany, the UK, and Asian countries, particularly in recent years through programs of the Beijing Modern Music Festival, the Beijing International Composition Workshop (BICW), the Shanghai Spring Festival, the Tianjin May Festival, the China-ASEAN Music Week, the symphony orchestras throughout China and some other Asian countries, and the Thailand International Composition Festival, among many others. She believes that music is a universal language; improving understanding between peoples of different cultural backgrounds and helping to bring peace in the world.


* Chen is family name, Yi is personal name. Chen Yi can be referred to as Dr. Chen, Prof. Chen, Ms. Chen, or Chen Yi, but not Dr. Yi, Prof. Yi, or Ms. Yi.


Chen Yi, Composer ---- Guest Speaker

Chen Yi

Huang Run, Composer ---- Guest Speaker

Huang Ruo

Composer Huang Ruo has been lauded by The New York Times for having “a distinctive style.” His vibrant and inventive musical voice draws equal inspiration from Chinese ancient and folk music, Western avant-garde, experimental, noise, natural and processed sound, rock, and jazz to create a seamless, organic integration using a compositional technique he calls “Dimensionalism.” Huang Ruo’s diverse compositional works span from orchestra, chamber music, opera, theater, and dance, to cross-genre, sound installation, architectural installation, multi-media, experimental improvisation, folk rock, and film.


His music has been premiered and performed by the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, National Polish Radio Orchestra, Santa Fe Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Asko/Schoenberg, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, and conductors such as Wolfgang Sawallisch, Marin Alsop, Andrew Davis, Michael Tilson Thomas, and James Conlon.


His opera An American Soldier (with libretto by David Henry Hwang) has recently received its world premiere at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis in June 2018, and was named one of the best classical music events in 2018 by The New York Times. His installation opera Paradise Interrupted was premiered at the Spoleto Festival USA in 2015 and was performed at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2016, with future touring planning for Europe and Asia. Another opera, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, was premiered at the Santa Fe Opera in 2014. His upcoming new opera M. Butterfly will receive its world premiere with the Santa Fe Opera in a future season. His other upcoming new operas will be premiered and presented by the Washington National Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Prototype Festival, and the Hong Kong New Vision Festival.


He served as the first composer-in-residence for Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and was the visiting composer for the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra in Brazil.


Huang Ruo was born in Hainan Island, China in 1976 - the year the Chinese Cultural Revolution ended. His father, who is also a composer, began teaching him composition and piano when he was six years old. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, when China was opening its gate to the Western world, he received both traditional and Western education at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. As a result of the dramatic cultural and economic changes in China following the Cultural Revolution, his education expanded from Bach, Mozart, Stravinsky, and Lutoslawski, to include the Beatles, rock and roll, heavy metal, and jazz. Huang Ruo was able to absorb all of these newly allowed Western influences equally. After winning the Henry Mancini Award at the 1995 International Film and Music Festival in Switzerland, he moved to the United States to further his education. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in composition from the Juilliard School.


Huang Ruo is a composition faculty at the Mannes School of Music in NY, and is the artistic director and conductor of Ensemble FIRE. He was selected as a Young Leader Fellow by the National Committee on United States–China Relations in 2006.


Huang Ruo’s music is published by Ricordi. For more information about the composer and his music, please visit:

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